When you're leaving Ballyvaughan on the coastal road the first stretch of water is too sheltered by the mountains to asses the conditions for swimming with the dolphin. But when we rounded Black Head we knew for sure: the sea was flat, as flat as a cheap mirror. The air had just the nibble of a chill and the water, like two days before, would mostly be a mental threshold.
On the descent of the trip track we saw a lot of water moving in the lap of Pollenawatch. The reef slackened an inconspicuously carried mass of water and pushed it into clear cut wall of water that shouldered its crest nearly halfway the rocks.
This time I had the premonition. I did not like the yellowish color of the water. It was half tide and neither of us was looking forward to the stony route that follows the Bathtub chute. Sometimes we leave the water by the Crack. It is weedy slippery but it has a few solid grips. These proved to be of less use going down, but we made it. We held hands and in turn walked or gave support until we were carried by the water. In the open water the waves gave us an occasional gentle rise. This height normally comes from everywhere and throws you into seasickness.
As we had agreed we swam across the continuation of the reef. The depth was approximately two meters. Again I felt the eerie sensation of seaweed flapping to and fro, while the seabed was shooting under me. I swam with the flush and sped like seldom before. Against it I could almost hold my position, less by swimming than by assuming streamline.
We had seen Dusty swimming with a spear fisher on the other side of the reef. She had not come over yet, maybe because the reef interfered with her sonar or because heightened curiosity for the rejecting activities of the hunter. Even when we did clearly come into her sonar range she did not come over at once. I felt a sharp pain of rejection where may be too often my dolphin heart rules.
I saw her escort the fisher man out and seconds later she was with Verena. She spent quite some time with her and once I saw her swim belly up under Verena with her beak comically pointing upwards. To me she was mostly enticing, going straight down and when I followed she swam away. Only once I got to her head and did we look each other sternly in the eye.
We got cold and decided to leave the water. On that level there is little oversight, except that the color of the water near the rocks was decidedly lighter. I swam to the little sandy beach, threw a farewell to Dusty and took of my monofin. I hardly stood on my feet or got the massive jolt of a wave in my back. When I had scrambled up I turned just in time to see massive walls of water thundering in. I do not know how many times I was kicked in, down and under. Verena had landed some ten meters away and I saw her being thrown towards the rocks and then sucked out by the backwash over the stones.
Twice I was pushed against a steep rock trying to salvage wing and fin on top of it. The water washed them off again and I saw the fin disappear in the grey water. As if by miracle it turned up after some despair. I grabbed it and stumbled over the stones as fast as I could around the corner of the Head and Shoulders rock. Enormously relieved I saw Verena at the entrance of the Crack. We slid through and worked ourselves upon the rocks. Bruised and shocked but totally alive.